Indian Removal Act - DOC

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					                     Indian Removal Act of 1830

INTRODUCTION

On May 26, 1830, the Indian Removal Act of 1830 was passed by the Twenty-
First Congress of the United states of America. After four months of strong
debate, Andrew Jackson signed the bill into law. Land greed was a big reason for
the federal government's position on Indian removal. This desire for Indian lands
was also abetted by the Indian hating mentallity that was peculiar to some
American frontiersman.

This period of forcible removal first started with the Cherokee Indians in the state
of Georgia. In 1802, the Georgia legislature signed a compact giving the federal
government all of her claims to western lands in exchange for the government's
pledge to extigiush all Indian titles to land within the state. But by the mid-1820's
Georgians began to doubt that the government would withhold its part of the
bargain. The Cherokee Indian tribes had a substantial part of land in Georgia that
they had had for many generations though. They were worried about losing their
land so they forced the issue by adopting a written constitution. This document
proclaimed that the Cherokee nation had complete jurisdiction over its own
territory.

But by now Indian removal had become entwined with the state of Georgia's
rights and the Cherokee tribes had to make their claims in court. When the
Cherokee nation sought aid from newly elected president Andrew Jackson, he
informed them that he would not interfere with the lawful prerogatives of the state
of Georgia. Jackson saw the solution of the problem with the removal of the
Cherokee tribes to lands west. This would keep contact between Indians and
colonists rare. He suggested that laws be past so that the Indians would have to
move west of the Mississippi river.
Similar incidents happened between the other "civilized" tribes and white men.
The Seminole tribe had land disputes with the state of Florida. The Creek Indians
fought many battles against the federal army so they could keep their land in the
states of Alabama and Georgia. The Chickisaw and Choctaw had disputes with
the state of Mississippi. To ensure peace the government forced these five tribes
called the Five Civilized Tribes to move out of their lands that they had lived on
for generations and to move to land given to them in parts of Oklahoma. Andrew
Jackson was quoted as saying that this was a way of protecting them and
allowing them time to adjust to the white culture. This land in Oklahoma was
thinly settled and was thought to have little value. Within 10 years of the Indian
Removal Act, more than 70,000 Indians had moved across the Mississippi. Many
Indians died on this journey.

"The Trails of Tears"

The term "Trails of Tears" was given to the period of ten years in which over
70,000 Indians had to give up their homes and move to certain areas assigned to
tribes in Oklahoma. The tribes were given a right to all of Oklahoma except the
Panhandle. The government promised this land to them "as long as grass shall
grow and rivers run." Unfortunately, the land that they were given only lasted till
about 1906 and then they were forced to move to other reservations.

The Trails of Tears were several trails that the Five civilized Tribes traveled on
their way to their new lands. Many Indians died because of famine or disease.
Sometimes a person would die because of the harsh living conditions. The tribes
had to walk all day long and get very little rest. All this was in order to free more
land for white settlers. The period of forcible removal started when Andrew
Jackson became Presidentin 1829. At that time there was reported to be
sightings of gold in the Cherokee territory in Georgia which caused prospectors
to rush in, tearing down fences and destroying crops. In Mississippi, the state
laws were extended over Choctaw and Chickisaw lands, and in 1930 the Indians
were made citizens which made it illegal to hold any tribal office. Also in Georgia,
the Cherokee tribes were forbade to hold any type of tribal legislature except to




ratify land cessions, and the citzens of Georgia were invited to rob and plunder
the tribes in their are by making it illegal for an Indian to bring suit against a white
man.

When President Jackson began to negotiate with the Indians, he gave them a
guarantee of perpetual autonomy in the West as the strongest incentive to
emigration.

The Five tribes gave all of their Eastern lands to the United States and agreed to
migrate beyond the Mississippi by the end of the 1830's. The Federal agents
accomplished this by bribery, trickery,and intimidation. All of the treaties signed
by the Indians as the agreed to the terms of the removal contained guarantees
that the Indians, territory should be perpetual and that no government other than
their own should be erected over them without their consent.

The land retained by the five civilized tribes was known as the Indian Territory.
The 19,525,966 acres were divded among the the five tribes. The Choctaws
received 6,953,048 acres in the southeast part of Oklahoma; the Chickisaw
recieved over 4,707,903 acres west of the Choctaws reservation; the Cherokees
received 4,420,068 acres in the northeast; the received 3,079,095 acres
southwest of the Cherokees; and the Seminoles purchased 365,852 acres which
they purchased from their kin, the Creeks. The Chickisaw and the Choctaw
owned their lands jointly because they were so closely related but the tribes still
exercised jurisdiction over its own territory though.

Besides the land that the tribes obtained, they also received a large sum of
money fom the sale of its Eastern territories. This money was a considerable part
of the revenue for the tribes and was used by their legislatures for the support of
schools and their governments. The Cherokee nation held $2,716,979.98 in the
United States trust; the Choctaw nation had $975,258.91; the Chickisaw held
$1,206,695.66;the Creek had $2,275,168.00; and the Seminole had
$2,070,000.00 by the end of 1894.

After the end of the Trails of Tears, the conversion tof all tribes to Christianity had
been efected rapidly. The Seminoles and Creeks were conservative to their
customs but other tribes were receptive to any custom considered supperior to
their own. The tribes found Christian teachings fitted to their own. Mainly the
modernization change began at the end of the removal.

Andrew Jackson Gave a speech on the Indian removal in the year of 1830. He
said, "It gives me great pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent
policy of the government, steady pursued for nearly thirty years, in relation with
the removal of the indians beyond the white settlements is approaching to a
happy consumation."

"The consequences of a speedy will be important to the United States, to
individual states, and to the Indians themselves. It puts an end to all possible
danger of a collision betweewn the authorities of the general and state
governments, and of the account the Indians. It will place a dense population in
large tracts of country now occupied by a few savaged hunters. By opening the
whole territory between Tenesee on the north and Louisiana on the south to the
settlement of the whites it will incalcuably strengthen the Southwestern frontier
and render the adjacent states strong enough to repel future invasion without
remote aid."

"It will seperate the indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites;
enable them to pusue happiness in their own way and under their own rude
institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers,
and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the government and
through the influences of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and
become an interesting, civilized, and christian community."